WHAT started off as a social outlet on a Monday night to meet up with old teammates has developed into a competitive season and one in which sees Steven Heaphy’s Tramore Athletic side joint top of the MSL’s Floodlit League after four games.
Heaphy took on the role as player-manager when the club entered a team in the section.
His idea was to gather lads that came through the club and currently, with 18 players on the squad, he is delighted with how things are going.
“I entered the team through my own business, The Corner Flag, and the main aim was to have a bit of craic on a Monday night and to be competitive throughout the year,” said Heaphy.
“Thankfully, we’ve done well, while at the same time enjoying it, so hopefully our winning streak continues.”
Heaphy started as a player with his local side Tramore at the age of six and went on to have a decent career while all the time keeping close contact with his beloved club.
Delighted to be still involved with his schoolboy club, the 38-year-old publican from Douglas has huge praise for the players he has assembled.
“Three games in, it’s been very enjoyable and great to meet up with old friends on a Monday night.
“The squad is made up of ex-senior and schoolboy Tramore players that would have come through the club from a young age.
“We have a squad of 18, but with work and family commitments there are only ever 14 players at a game.
In the squad, lads such as Brian O’Regan, Colm O’Callaghan, Brian O’Neill, Graham O’Donovan, Maurice O’Connell, Thomas Morgan, Alan Hogan, and myself would have played in Tramore Park since we were six or seven years of age.
“To this day Graham and Colm do not want the ball, Maurice is running around like a greyhound and Brian is relying on his 2010 All-Ireland win with Cork.
“We are top of the league four games in, we played College Corinthians, Crofton, Leeds, and St Mary’s — winning three and drawing one.
“As a team, it is our first year in the league and the standard is very high, with teams ranging in ages of 36-46.
“The lads are really enjoying it and that’s the main thing really.”
Running a business can be time-consuming in itself, however for Heaphy finding the right balance makes life easier.
“Since an early age I’ve always done well to balance work and sport. I have played with Tramore since I was six years of age, followed by a stint in Leeds in Yorkshire, Cork City, and Greenmount Rangers.
“I returned as player-manage of the Tramore senior team in 2006 where we gained promotion and won the cup.
“I emigrated in 2008 to teach in London and Abu Dhabi and returned to Ireland in 2020 to open The Corner Flag Pub, next to Turner’s Cross Stadium.
“Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March of that year and I was forced to close to the public shortly after opening.
“On the bright side, it gave me a chance to pour all my efforts into renovating what was once The Horseshoe Inn and developing a new terrace that allows patrons to have the ultimate experience at all Cork City games.
“I am very lucky to have such great staff who enable a steady work-life balance for me.
“To be back involved with Tramore is great. The recent development in Tramore Park with the new astro-pitch was a long time coming, but the vibrancy it has brought to the area is incredible and will certainly create an attraction to new players.
“With Nemo Rangers' state-of-the-art facility next door, it’s great to see a local club like Tramore flourishing alongside.
“The work effort and commitment given to Tramore by the likes of Derry O’Callaghan over the last 40 years has been instrumental in the club’s success and I’m delighted to be back part of this great club.”